Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-32-0107
2009-11-03

Inspiring a College Campus to Design, Create, and Build Green Small Engine Vehicles 2009-32-0107

Challenges to engineering and technology students change with the times. Prior generations were faced with the challenge of transporting astronauts to the moon, or sending a spacecraft to the limits of the solar system. Using their training and talent, they created innovative designs empowering the earth to explore the universe. To them, only the sky was the limit.
Our current generation of students is faced with a different challenge. Now, the earth seems to be the limit, with students devoting their creative energy to solve problems related to global climate change and to find alternative non-petroleum-based sources of energy.
To harness and inspire this earth-focused student, the President of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York issued a “Green Vehicle Challenge” to the 17,000 students and staff on campus. The challenge was to design and construct a vehicle consuming less total energy than a modern electric bicycle around a 4.8 kilometer route. Constructed vehicles must carry at least one person weighing more than 70 kilogram using a form of energy other than human energy. This paper documents the vehicle designs and energy consumption of this collegiate event to share this information as we work towards developing the solution(s) to fix our global energy and environmental problems.

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